Shaktipat is a very sacred and very rare initiation. Shaktipāt means a transference of Shakti (the spiritual energy of the Self) from the master to the student with the aim of awakening the otherwise dormant kundalini in the student, so that the kundalini Shakti (divine energy) begins to work for his enlightenment. It is possible to change the behavior of kundalini so that kundalinī, instead of upholding your ignorance begins to deconstruct it and change your nervous system so that you can uphold states of enlightenment. This change in kundalini is really what all spiritual paths aim at, but very few succeed. The fastest and most direct path to it is known as shaktipāt. Shaktipāt simply means that an enlightened Siddha, who has completed the kundalinī process, instigates this process towards enlightenment in the student. This instigation is all that shaktipat is about.
Shaktipat can be given in a number of ways: By touch, look, or thought; via an object (such as a mālā); via a fruit or other edible substance. There are probably other ways, but these are the ones I use.
Does the guru lose his energy when giving shaktipāt?
No, not really. This depends on his level of enlightenment, of course. But a fully
realized and adept Siddha guru does not lose his energy. He is merely a conduit for the grace of the Divine Mother. He may pick up some of the student’s karma, though, and this can be temporarily unpleasant for the guru. It is important that the student, when approaching the guru for shaktipät, does not have any agendas such as ‘take my pain’, ‘solve my problems’ and so on, as such will certainly dump the bad karma on the guru and cause him unnecessary suffering.
Levels of shaktipāt
When giving shaktipāt, it differs from person to person what they receive. Shaktipat also differs from guru to guru. The differences depend on the student’s ability to receive, the student’s level of spiritual evolution, the guru’s level of enlightenment and the guru’s ability to give shaktipat. In general, we can speak of the following kinds of shaktipät:
A. Shaktipat for enlightenment
- Instant enlightenment.
- Enlightenment within a very short time (a few weeks or at most months).
B. Shaktipät for kundalinī awakening that ensures:
- Enlightenment in this lifetime.
- Instant access to the deepest samadhi. Sat-Chit-Ananda.
- Access to the deepest samadhi within this lifetime.
- Enlightenment within a few lifetimes.
- The student will continue on the path of Shaktipät Siddha Yoga in the next life.
C. Shaktipat that prepares for higher forms of shaktipāt
- Untying one or more of the knots (granthis).
- Cleaning energy channels, in particular Sushumnā.
Other situations that involve a master and a client should be mentioned, since they have nothing to do with shaktipat, yet some call them so. These are of no value with respect to getting enlightened. These are the lowest forms of deliberate energy interaction between two or more people (unfortunately many have begun calling them shaktipāt):
- Energy work
Only an enlightened guru can give shaktipät for enlightenment and for kundalini awakening (A and B). Some such gurus may initiate non-enlightened students to give the ‘C’ kinds of shaktipat that cleanse the system and prepare it for the higher forms of shaktipāt.
What Shaktipāt Isn’t
There are many misconceptions about what shaktipat is. The following passage by swami Satyananda contains most of them, so let’s discuss it: “The ninth method of awakening Kundalini is performed by the guru. It is called shaktipat. The awakening is instant, but it is only a glimpse, not a permanent event. When the guru creates this awakening you experience samadhi. You can practice all forms of prānāyāma and all asanas, mudrās and bandhas without having learned them or prepared for them. All the mantras are revealed to you and you know the scriptures from within. Changes take place in the physical body in an instant. The skin becomes very soft, the eyes glow and the body emits a particular aroma which is neither agreeable nor disagreeable.” (Satyananda Saraswati, Swami: Kundalinī Tantra, Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar, India, 2001 (1984), p.48.) The awakening is instant, but it is only a glimpse, not a permanent event.
When a competent, enlightened Siddha yogi awakens the student’s kundalini through shaktipat it is most certainly permanent. Thus, it is not an event’, but a radical shift in how kundalini operates. The kundalini will remain awake for at least three incarnations and in those inspire the student to do sadhana (spiritual practices for attaining enlightenment) and receive shaktipat again. If the student does not follow-up on the shaktipat initiation by doing spiritual practices, the kundalini will become restful, but not dormant. This means that if the lazy student picks up sadhana at a later stage, the kundalini is ready to become active and arise and will inspire the student to receive another shaktipät initiation.